Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Notre Dame de Paris

Last night, my dad made an impromptu decision to book us all tickets for the premiere of Notre Dame de Paris (the musical). As it was the premiere night, there were invited guests present so we could look out for celebrities (or people remotely famous) if we wanted to, among the throng of people clustered outside of the theatre. It was at Marina Bay Sands, so it was a pretty classy event.
I admit to never have watched the Disney adaptation of Victor Hugo’s famous tale, nor have I been acquainted with the novel itself. Thus, I went into Act I feeling completely lost. As it was a musical, the story was told through song, and you know how difficult it is to pick up the exact lyrics in a song, especially when sung by non-locals with unfamiliar accents. So all through Act I, I just enjoyed the dances and songs. The dancers were really really good. Every single move was executed wonderfully, and they also had a group of guys who did all these acrobatic stunts, such as doing multiple flips while in the air, etc. The director (or maybe it was the choreographer, I’m not too sure) was the same as the (director/choreographer) for Cirque de Soleil, so the acrobatic element was present in Notre Dame de Paris as well.
Towards the end of Act I, a technical glitch occurred, which left the stage empty for approximately five minutes. It was pretty awkward because the audience thought that it was intermission, but the theatre lights did not go on as it was supposed to. So the emcee (or representative of the show) explained that it was a technical fault and they would get it corrected in a jiffy.
True enough, the show continued after a short (but awkward) pause.
During intermission, I looked up Wikipedia for a synopsis of the musical, and then everything started to make sense to me. So during Act II, I was able to understand the songs better as I actually knew what was going on.
Into the second or so song of Act II, the main character’s mic went awry and thus we couldn’t hear what he was singing about. He showed professionalism by carrying on singing as loud as he could, but some very rude members of the audience jeered him. One group of them were seated right behind me, and they shouted “BOO!!!” so loudly I was embarrassed for them. Their uncourteous behaviour and clear lack of proper audience etiquette really ticked me off but there was not much I could do about it without getting into trouble. I actually feel disdain for them. Even if they argued that they jeered to let the technicians be aware of the glitch, I’m sure the technicians would have realised that without their jeers. The mic would no doubt amplify the singers’ voice so that it resonates in the whole theatre, and obviously would also be within earshot of the technicians. Thus, I think they would have noticed that something was amiss when they could no longer hear the singers’ voice booming through the hall and quickly fix the problem.
Anyway, the rest of the musical continued and I enjoyed every moment of it. The performance was truly amazing, especially the singing! The music was just too beautiful, and the lyrics moving. Oddly enough, I was thinking how nice it would be to play one of the songs as a band arrangement. After the show, I made a beeline for the musical merchandise counter and bought a copy of the soundtrack in English. I was tempted to get the French version, but I suppose it would not be very meaningful since I wouldn’t understand a word of it.
It was a really awesome night and I would watch it again if I could.

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